Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Last updated:  [01/14/22]

COVID-19 Information

*** Effective December 6, 2021, all airline passengers to the United States ages two years and older, regardless of vaccination status or citizenship, must provide a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within one calendar day of travel. Alternatively, travelers to the United States may provide documentation from a licensed health care provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel. Check the CDC website for additional information and Frequently Asked Questions.

Country-Specific Information:

  • Bulgaria has 806,977 reported cases of COVID-19 within its borders.
  • Bulgaria has 31,922 reported fatalities from COVID-19 within its borders.
  • Bulgaria is following WHO and ECDC guidance on threat mitigation.
  • As of Oct. 21, all visitors over the age of 18 to indoor public spaces, including restaurants, cafes, cinemas, gyms, shopping malls, hotels, concert halls, museums, gyms, and swimming pools must present a valid digital or paper COVID-19 certificate showing they have been fully vaccinated, have recently recovered from COVID-19 or have had a negative result of a PCR (no older than 72 hours) or antigen (no older than 48 hours) test.
  • Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, insurance companies, providers of telecom, postal and payment services remain open. Supplies including food and medicine remain plentiful.
  • Kindergartens and nurseries are open. Schools in certain “red COVID-19 areas” in Bulgaria, including Sofia, and all universities in the country are on remote learning.
  • Group celebrations are limited to no more than 15 people if held indoors and 30 people if held outdoors.
  • Masks: All persons must wear a mask that covers their mouth and nose in all indoor public spaces as well as in open public spaces where there is a crowd of people and it is not possible to observe a physical distance of 1.5 m. Scarves or substitute face coverings are no longer allowed in place of a mask.

COVID-19 Testing

    • Are PCR and/or antigen tests available for U.S. citizens in BULGARIA? Yes
    • If so, are test results reliably available within 24 hours? Yes
    •  PCR testing is widely available at sites across the country, including hospitals and private laboratories. Currently 100 hospitals and laboratories in Bulgaria are officially accredited by the Ministry of Health. A full list is published in Health Order № РД-01-774/16.09.2021 г. The fee is generally approximately $100 and is fully covered by the U.S. Citizen. It is preferable, to make an appointment by phone as most of the hospitals have specific time slots during which citizens can get tested.
    • Tests results can be checked online but originals are usually stamped and collected in person. For more information email ACS_Sofia@state.gov.
    • Airlines must confirm the negative test result or documentation of recovery or all passengers over two years of age before they board. If a passenger does not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery, or chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger.
    • Humanitarian exemptions to the CDC testing requirement for flights to the United States. CDC may grant a humanitarian exemption in very limited circumstances only when an individual must travel to the United States to preserve health (e.g., emergency medical evacuations) or safety (e.g., violence) and is unable to access or complete the testing requirement before travel. There are no waivers available for individuals who test positive for COVID-19. Individuals—or air carriers seeking to allow boarding by potentially qualifying individuals—who believe they meet the criteria for a waiver should contact the U.S. Embassy at ACS_Sofia@state.gov and provide the information below. The U.S. Embassy will then submit the request to the CDC for consideration.
    • The following information must be provided for each passenger requesting a humanitarian exemption:
        • Name (family name/surname, given name), passport number and nationality
        • Cell phone number including country code of passenger or head of household if family unit
        • Email address of passenger or head of household if family unit
        • U.S. destination address; Is U.S. destination home address?
        • Departure date
        • Flight itinerary, including any connecting flights
        • Name of submitting entity if different from passenger
        • Name of company submitting on behalf of passenger(s) (if applicable)
        • Name of point of contact (POC) submitting on behalf of passenger(s) (if applicable)
        • Phone and email address for POC submitting waiver request on behalf of passenger(s) (if applicable)
        • Vaccination status
        • Purpose of travel to the U.S. and brief explanation of why urgent travel is needed
        • Justification for humanitarian exemption for testing requirement (e.g., no testing available, impact on health and safety)
        • Documentation to support justification (e.g., medical records or orders for medical evacuation)
        • Information regarding any other solutions that were sought prior to application (e.g., flight changes, testing en route, assistance in obtaining testing/vaccination, etc.)

COVID-19 Vaccine Information:

      • Has the government of Bulgaria approved a COVID-19 vaccine for use? Yes
      • Are vaccines available in Bulgaria for U.S. citizens to receive? Yes
      • Which vaccines are available in Bulgaria? AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Availability is fluid and based on supply
      • According to the Bulgarian government’s National Vaccination Plan the vaccination program prioritizes critical workers including healthcare staff and teachers, and vulnerable groups including residents of elder care homes, people with serious chronic conditions and people over 65. General vaccination has started for Bulgarian nationals, long-term and permanent residents; however, availability is fluid and based on supply. Please contact your General Practitioner (GP) or the Regional Health Directorate for more information. Official information on vaccination is available in Bulgarian language only at https://coronavirus.bg/bg/vaccinations
      • Bulgaria has a Bulgarian-language online registration system for vaccination against Covid-19: COVID-19 Регистрация за ваксинация :: НЗИС (his.bg). Permanent and long-term residents in Bulgaria can use their Bulgarian personal identification number (ЛНЧ) to register in the system and to choose their preferred type of vaccine, vaccination center, and a vaccination time slot.
      • Visit the FDA’s website to learn more about FDA-approved vaccines in the United States.
      • The United States Government does not plan to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to private U.S. citizens overseas. Please follow host country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination.
      • COVID-19 Vaccine Information for U.S. Citizens Abroad.

Entry and Exit Requirements:

  • Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter? Yes, U.S. citizens arriving from Green, or Orange Zone countries can enter Bulgaria. However, the United States is currently a Red Zone country which means that U.S. citizens traveling directly from the United States to Bulgaria or arriving from another Red Zone country cannot enter Bulgaria unless they meet an exception.

Under the Bulgarian Ministry of Health order, countries are classified as Green, Orange, or Red Zones based on their COVID-19 risk. As of January 7, 2022, the United States is considered a Red Zone country. Please note that the current Bulgarian entry requirements are based on the country of departure only—not on citizenship and not on countries through which you transit. If you are departing from a Red Zone country, you must meet one of the listed exceptions to enter—the fact that you are vaccinated or have a negative COVID test result is not considered an exception. A list of exceptions is found below. That means U.S. Citizens starting their travel from Green or Orange Zones may enter Bulgaria under the conditions listed in the new Health Order of the Bulgarian Ministry of Health (Order RD-01-977/27.11.2021 ), amended with order RD-01-4/05.01.2022, that are in effect from January 7, 2022, through March 3, 2022.

Please note that all other requirements for entry as a third country national, such as a visa (if required), still apply.

The current classification of countries as Green, Orange, and Red Zones is listed below. The list changes frequently, so please check the website of the Bulgarian Ministry of Health for the latest updates!

Green zone: Romania, Vatican City.

Orange zone: All countries outside the green and red zone.

Red zone: Afghanistan, Andorra, Argentina, Aruba, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Curaçao, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Eswatini, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guatemala, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lesotho, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, Monte Negro, Mozambique, Namibia, the Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Poland, Saba, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Seychelles, Sint Eustatius, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, North Korea, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos Islands, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, Uruguay, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Entry restrictions: 

Green or Orange zone: All travelers arriving to Bulgaria from a Green or Orange Zone country, regardless of their citizenship, can enter without quarantine if they present an EU Digital COVID Certificate showing that the person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, has received a negative COVID test result, or has recovered from COVID-19. EU national authorities oversee issuing the certificate, which may be issued by test centers or health authorities, or directly via an eHealth portal. The digital version can be stored on a mobile device. Citizens can also request a paper version. Both will have a Quick Response (QR) code that contains essential information, as well as a digital signature to make sure the certificate is authentic. Similar documents which contain the same data as the EU digital certificate, such as a U.S. Centers for Disease Control Vaccination Record Card, are also accepted.

Persons who do not present an EU Digital COVID Certificate will be quarantined for a period of 10 days. A traveler’s quarantine may be revoked if they obtain a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or antigen test result performed not earlier than 72 hours following their arrival in Bulgaria. The quarantine is considered terminated the day after they register the negative result in the National Information System for Combating COVID-19.

At least 5% of all arrivals from Orange Zone countries will be randomly tested with a rapid antigen test upon arrival to Bulgaria.

Red Zone: Persons arriving from a Red Zone country are prohibited from entering Bulgaria unless they meet an exception.

Exceptions:  Those excepted from Red zone entry restrictions include:

      • Bulgarian citizens and persons with the status of permanent or long-term residence status in Bulgaria and their immediate family members;
      • Citizens of the European Union, the European Economic Area, the Swiss Confederation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and their family members arriving from a Member State of the European Union, the European Economic Area, the Swiss Confederation, and from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
      • Medical professionals, medical researchers, social workers, and their supervisors when traveling related to their duties;
      • Workers involved in the supply of medicinal products, medical devices. personal protective equipment, and medical equipment, including its installation and maintenance;
      • Foreign officials, diplomats, members of the administrative and technical staff of foreign missions, officials of international organizations, military personnel, and humanitarian workers entering for the performance of their duties and their family members;
      • Persons traveling for humanitarian reasons and their family;
      • Seasonal agricultural and tourism workers;
      • Foreign students attending a university in Bulgaria, who present an official document from the University as well as foreign students who hold long term “D” study visas;
      • Foreign citizens, who are to receive a decree under the Bulgarian Citizenship Law for acquiring a Bulgarian citizenship, certified by a letter from the Minister of Justice;
      • In all other cases persons travelling from Red Zone countries may enter Bulgaria with the permission of the Minister of Health. All those seeking this exemption must present a letter from the Minister of Health, which includes the reasons for applying for the entry exemption. Such letters are issued in extremely limited cases and for very specific reasons.

At least 5% of all arrivals from Red Zone countries will be randomly tested with a rapid antigen test upon arrival to Bulgaria.

Persons who fall under an exception can enter Bulgaria by presenting an EU Digital COVID Certificate showing that the person has been vaccinated against COVID-19 or has recovered from COVID-19 or a similar document which contain the same data as the EU digital certificate together with a negative result from a test conducted up to 72 hours before entering the country by the method of polymerase chain reaction for COVID-19, certified by a valid EU digital COVID certificate for testing or a similar document containing the same data as the EU digital COVID certificate for testing.

Bulgarian citizens and holders of permanent, long-term, or continuous residence in Bulgaria, who do not present any of the above documents, will be quarantined for a period of 10 days at home or in another place of accommodation, in which the person has indicated that he/she will reside, with a recommendation issued by the Director of the respective Regional Health Inspectorate or a Deputy Director.

Bulgarian citizens and holders of permanent, long-term, or continuous residence in Bulgaria, who present only one of the required documents will be quarantined for a period of 10 days. The quarantine may be revoked if they obtain a negative result of a PCR test performed not earlier than 72 hours after their arrival in Bulgaria. The quarantine is to be lifted the day after the submission of the document showing a negative PCR test result.

Only Bulgarian citizens and holders of permanent, long-term, or continuous residence in Bulgaria are permitted to enter the country from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Korea, and Zimbabwe. All arriving from these countries will be tested with a rapid antigen test upon arrival to Bulgaria.

The acceptable COVID-19 entry documents are defined in the new Health Order of the Bulgarian Ministry of Health (Order RD-01-977/27.11.2021 )

  • Is a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) required for entry? Yes, if arriving from a Red Zone country or arriving without proof of vaccination or COVID-19 recovery from a Green or Orange Zone country.

For persons arriving from the Green and Orange Zone countries an EU Digital COVID Certificate proving that a person has either been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result, or recovered from COVID-19 is required. Similar documents which contain the same data as the EU digital certificate are also accepted.

      • Exceptions:
      • Children up to 12 years;
      • International bus and truck drivers;
      • Crews of commercial aircraft and other transport staff as required, including vessel crews and persons involved in the maintenance of vessels;
      • Frontier workers (persons living in Bulgaria and traveling daily or weekly to a Member State of the European Union, North Macedonia, Serbia, or Turkey for the purpose of pursuing an activity as an employee or as self-employed person, as well as persons who live in the indicated countries and travel daily or weekly to Bulgaria for the purpose of exercising activity as an employed or as a self-employed person);
      • Persons transiting the country;
      • Students living in Greece, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, and Turkey, and traveling daily or weekly to Bulgaria for study purposes, as well as students living in Bulgaria and traveling daily or at weekly to Greece, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, and Turkey for study purposes;
      • Bulgarian citizens, persons with permanent or long-term resident status in Bulgaria (and their family members) arriving from countries with a free transit reciprocity agreement with Bulgaria;

All persons allowed to enter Bulgaria may do so from the following border crossings: Sofia airport, Burgas airport, Varna airport, Plovdiv airport, Burgas seaport, Varna seaport, and the land border crossings at Vidin, Vrushka chuka, Durankulak, Gyueshevo, Zlatarevo, Ilinden, Kalotina, Kapitan Andreevo, Kapitan Petko voivoda, Kulata, Lesovo, Makaza, Malko Turnovo, Oltomantsi, Oryahovo, Ruse, Stanche Lisichkovo, Samovit-Nikopol, and Strezimirovtsi.

        • Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry? Yes.
        • Visa Extensions from the Bulgarian Migration Directorate: According to the current regulations, visitors may be eligible for a one-time extension of the 90-day visa-free stay. For more information, please visit a local Migration office or contact Migration at migration@mvr.bg.

Movement Restrictions:

    • Is a curfew in place? No.
    • Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? No.

Quarantine Information:

    • Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine?  No, if the required COVID-19 entry documents, described above, are presented.
        • If required, the traveler must pay their costs for the 10-day quarantine.

Transportation Options:

    • Are commercial flights operating? Yes.
        • Sofia Airport remains open with reduced flights. Departure information is available here.
    • Is public transportation operating? Yes.
        • All persons must cover their mouth and nose with a mask or covering on all public transportation including while in railway, bus and metro stations, and airports etc.

Fines for Non-Compliance:

    • Those not in compliance with rules regarding social distancing, mask mandates, and quarantine directives may be fined or arrested.

Consular Operations:

    • The Consular section continues to provide emergency services supporting U.S. citizens in Bulgaria including passports, voting assistance and emergency Special Consular Services. For additional information or to schedule a service please email ACS_Sofia@state.gov.
    • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Embassy in Sofia remains unable to resume routine visa operations. We are currently offering as many appointments as local conditions, resources, and safety considerations allow in mission-critical visa categories, including a limited number of appointments for petition-based employment visas, student visas, and exchange visitor visas. We encourage all applicants to be mindful of the constraints and to apply early. Appointments are available on a first-come, first-serve basis as capacity allows. Interview waiver processing for eligible B1/B2 and C1/D visa renewals continues.We continue processing of K1 fiancé visas and other immigrant visas currently backlogged. Please note that immediate family visas (IR1, IR2, CR1, CR2, IR5, and IH3) have priority over all other immigrant visa categories. As a result, expect significant delays for Family Preference (FP) cases, Employment Preference (EP), and Diversity Visa (DV) cases until further notice.

Local Resources:

Advice to U.S. Citizens:

      • U.S. citizens planning to depart Bulgaria should contact their airlines and consider contingency plans in case travel options become more limited in the future.
      • International commercial flight options currently exist in Bulgaria.
      • If you are a U.S. citizen in Bulgaria and need to renew a U.S. passport, please email ACS_Sofia@state.gov.

Advice to Non – U.S. Citizens, Non-U.S. immigrants:

      • On October 25, President Biden announced a Presidential Proclamation titled “A Proclamation on Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” This proclamation ended the travel restrictions under Presidential Proclamations (P.P.) 9984, 9992, 10143, and 10199 as they relate to the suspension of entry into the United States of persons physically present in Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen Area and the United Kingdom. In place of these restrictions, the President announced a global vaccination requirement for all adult foreign national travelers. Any non-U.S. citizen, non-U.S. immigrant (not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, lawful permanent resident, or traveling to the United States on an immigrant visa) must be fully vaccinated to travel to the United States by plane. Only limited exceptions apply. More information about this global vaccination requirement, including details on exceptions and waivers due to humanitarian concerns, is available at Non-U.S. citizen, Non-U.S. immigrants: Air Travel to the United States | CDC.
      • With specific exceptions, noncitizens who have been in certain countries during the past 14 days may not enter the United States, either as immigrants or nonimmigrants. For more information, visit: Travelers Prohibited from Entry to the United States.